It had to come. Michael Gerber's Barry Trotter and the Shameless Parody
does to Harry Potter what Bored of the Rings
did to Tolkien--burying the very English original in showers of quick-fire gags, mangled character names, and Americanisms.
It stuck to the plot of The Lord of the Rings, but--probably for fear of lawsuits--Shameless Parody rambles in all directions, poking fun at JK Rowling's characters, her fans, the worldwide Potter phenomenon and moviemakers Warner Brothers too.
The hero of Barry Trotter and the Philosopher's Scone (in America, Barry Trotter and the Magic Biscuit) is now in his 11th year at Hogwash School for Wizards, aged 22. Yes, he should have left long ago, but being famous is addictive. Now the Headmaster, Alpo Bumblemore, has a fresh task for Barry. Already beset by crowds of non-magical "Muddle" fans, the school faces terminal publicity unless our hero can halt production of the scheduled film Barry Trotter and the Inevitable Attempt to Cash In....
Can Barry, with friends Lon Measly and Ermine Cringer, defeat the latest evil schemes and transparent anagrams of Lord Valumart--even with help from author JG Rollins herself? It doesn't seem to matter much since even the "good" characters tend to be crass, stupid, unsympathetic or all three.
Gerber shrewdly builds on the Hogwarts tradition of icky sweets and should appeal to the young in brain with loving descriptions of Snot Chocolate, Dandruff Babies, Diarrhoea Creams, and the like: "Barry chuckled: for him, potty humour was one of life's most reliable sources of pleasure." Naturally there's not a Chamber but a Chamberpot of Secrets, and the toilet-haunting ghost Moaning Myrtle becomes Flatulent Fanny.
The plot, for want of a better word, is too self-referentially silly to describe. It's a toss-up: will millions of young Rowling fans giggle uncontrollably over the lavatory jokes, or lynch Gerber for blasphemy? --David Langford